Description of the Selected Example
The selected example is one of the central objects in Ancient Greece exposition that can be found at the Metropolitan Museum. It is a marble column from the Temple of Artemis at Sardis, which dates back to ca. 300 BC (“Marble column,” 2018). It is a stone sculpture made of ivory marble. It is a section of an Ionic column that is currently 142 1/8 inches high while the original column was more than 57 feet high. Its distinguishing features are elegant foliate carving on the capital as well as the torus with its vegetal pattern that is exceptionally performed. This piece of Greek art can be viewed on the website of the Metropolitan Museum by the following link: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/26.59.1/
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Origins and Context
This marble column is a gift from The American Society for the excavation of Sardis in 1926. Still, the creation of the temple was brought from roots back to 300 BC. Currently, the column is a part of a homogeneous group of materials from Sardis, which are significant for the whole Greek exposition of the museum (Lazzarini & Marconi, 2014). This fragment of an ionic column includes base and capital that are made of medium-grained marble found near Sardis.
The column was one of those that provided structural support for the Temple of Artemis at Sardi’s. Still, there is evidence that this column was not a part of the outer colonnade but, most probably, was placed in the east or west porches (“Marble column,” 2018).
According to another version, the column can be from an inner room as well as from the inner back porch of the temple. The temple was built by Greeks to honor and worship Artemis, the Greek goddess of chastity, virginity, the hunt, the moon, and the natural environment. The name of Artemis as well as those of other gods was a frequent topic in the Hellenistic world of art (Stewart, 2014). This temple was the fourth largest Greek ionic temple although its construction was not finished. On the whole, the temple itself and the elaboration of a column provide proof of craftsmanship typical of the Hellenistic period.
The Impact of Ancient Greece on Contemporary Cultural Patterns
Greek culture is considered to be one of the most influential cultures in the history of humanity. Its impact is particularly evident in the architecture. Pieces of Greek-inspired architecture are found across the world. The ideas of the famous Greek landmarks were borrowed by many architects and can be seen in buildings and monuments. One of the popular architectural styles inspired by Greek culture is the neoclassical one.
It is broadly applied to construct diverse official buildings. For example, in the United States, the White House, the Supreme Court Building, and the Longworth House Office Building is decorated with classic ionic columns. Still, one of the most popular buildings created about the Greek culture is the US Capitol (“Ionic columns,” 2018). The design of the whole building can be found by the link https://www.britannica.com/topic/United-States-Capitol (Bigler, 2016).
While the Capitol is bigger than any of the Greek temples due to the more developed technical devices at times it was created, it is decorated with several ionic colonnades that also provide a supportive function. It is a great example of neoclassical architecture and proof of the impact of Greek architecture traditions on contemporary culture.
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Bigler, B. P. (2016). United States Capitol. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web.
Ionic columns. (2018). Web.
Lazzarini, L., & Marconi, C. (2014). A new analysis of major Greek sculptures in the Metropolitan Museum: Petrological and stylistic. Metropolitan Museum Journal, 49, 117-140.
Marble column from the Temple of Artemis at Sardi’s. (2018). Web.
Stewart, A. (2014). Art in the Hellenistic world: An introduction. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.